June 4, 2011
Excerpt: The purpose of this book is to present a simple explanation of the philosophy usually taught to Catholic students. No attempt has been made to introduce novel doctrines, but merely to set out, as clearly as possible, the meaning of those which are commonly received. Since such teaching at the present day is predominantly on the lines of the system originated by Aquinas, it is this system, as developed by modern Thomists, which it is the object of this book to explain. It is clear that in a single work it would be impossible to give a full account, and absurd to try to vindicate the truth, of the various philosophical systems which are included under the generic name of Scholasticism ; so that no systematic exposition is attempted of even the chief of the non-Thomistic systems, those of Scotus and Suarez. The divergences of their doctrines from those of S. Thomas frequently throw light on the precise meaning of the Thomist contentions ; so that to make some mention of them is not foreign to our purpose. Similar considerations will apply to our treatment of those other philosophical systems which diverge still more widely from the Thomistic plan, such as those of Spinoza or of Hegel. It appears to be as unreasonable to expect, in an exposition of Thomism, a full account and refutation of Hegelianism, for example, as it would be to look for such an account of Thomism in Hegel's Logic. Consequently, all that seems necessary to be done in this direction is to notice the principal divergences of modern philosophies from the Thomistic, so bringing into higher relief its positive teaching ; and, as far as space allows, to meet the more urgent of the reasons that have been advanced against its truth.